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for Afghan women campaigning for office

They whisper rumor's echoes, poison name
      And reputation, murmur fault
      And fabrication, then assault
With silence, hate note, death sign, daggered blame.

They ostracize integrity. I stay
      A candidate, and I campaign. They pelt
      With innuendo. Arson cannot melt
My courage. I will never go away.

*       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *

They brand me "enemy." To me, they're my
Electoral opponents. I forgive
Mistakes but not their shouting, "She should die!"
I counter: let democracy live!
Posted 04/22/13
from Stars Beyond the Battlesmoke (Seattle: Rose Alley Press, 2008)
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